In case you missed it in the very early hours on Wednesday, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall made history for the United States as they became the first to win an Olympic gold medal – and a medal of any color – in women’s cross-country. This was also the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the United States for a man or woman, and the first medal in the sport for the USA in 42 years.
Randall and Diggins were in the leading pack the entire race when, in the final corner of the last leg, Sweden’s Stina Nilsson attempted to break away from Diggins and Norway’s Maiken Falla. Diggins, the only athlete of the three to not have won an Olympic medal in the women’s individual sprint, out-chased both of her more decorated adversaries to win the women’s relay by half a ski length.
If you’ve watched cross-country during this fortnight, you would realize that perhaps no other competitors are as sunny as Diggins and Randall. Just a couple days ago Diggins took to Instagram with a quote ending in the words “Enjoy it.” No one seemed to enjoy the relay half as much as the face-painted American pair, and it was that enthusiasm that they used to carry themselves over the finish line.
News of Diggins’ and Randall’s historic achievement quickly spread, and cross-country teammate Sadie Bjornsen was one of the first to congratulate the duo.
Fellow cross-country teammate Sophie Caldwell also couldn’t contain her excitement for Diggins and Randall.
Lindsey Vonn, who made her own history on Wednesday evening by becoming the oldest woman to win the downhill, also congratulated the skiers.
Vonn wasn’t the only Olympic medalist to offer her congratulations, though. 2006 gold medalist and former alpine skier Julia Mancuso, as well as 2018 bronze medalist Maia Shibutani also joined in.